My Experiences in the Water
by Elwin Varughese
I always loved being in water. During my childhood, it was a tradition for my family to go to the beach or swimming pool every month. But the thing was that I just liked being in the water, I just never knew swimming. Both my father and brother helped me to support in the water and they even tried to teach me but you know how it would be, all they would tell me was, “Move your hands and legs!!” This definitely did not help me.
Fast forward to my undergraduate years! During one of the holidays, me and my friends decided to go on a short trip to Mangalore. One of the things we decided to do there was to go to the beach and just jump into the water. When we got there, we did exactly that. Mangalore was humid and hot and the beach was empty. The waves were strong and with too much excitement, I just jumped into the water without even thinking. It was just a serene experience, the warm water and just the entire feeling of it. Magical!
As I was looking ahead to the ends of the water, I turned back and realised that the shore was getting further away. Suddenly it just clicked! I am being pulled into the water and I could see that my friends were far away at the shore. The water was almost able to drown me completely and I tried holding my feet on the ground but I couldn’t feel anything below my feet. This made me completely panic. I screamed, but to no avail. No one could hear me because every time I opened my mouth, water would just enter. For a minute second, I thought I was going to drown and die.
Then somehow, I really don’t know how, with all my strength I was able to push myself and somehow reached the shore. This was an experience which traumatized me to a great extent and I became nervous to go into water again. Even after many years, everytime I go to a beach or a deep pool, there would be this cold breeze hitting my feet and it would just freeze me completely. All I could do was just put my feet into the water and come out.
Fast forward to a few weeks back, my partner and I decided that we needed to learn how to swim. I became nervous and skeptical. I started thinking about many things, mainly thinking about how I would be able to learn swimming when I am scared to get into the water. But somehow, she being there with me, helped me to convince myself that I might be able to overcome this fear. I reached the pool and suddenly the cold breeze hit my feet. I got nervous but still I put my feet into the water and guess what? The water was really cold!! I avoided the thought and continued getting into the water. Finally, submerging myself into the water.
Step by step, I learnt to swim. Beginning with floating, paddling my feet, breathing into the water, doing strokes and finally doing everything simultaneously. Everyday after class, there was always a new aspect of swimming being learnt and this made me feel that I was getting a step closer to success. In the end and few days back, I am proud to say that I was able to take more than 10 laps back and forth in the pool. I wouldn’t say that I am now comfortable with swimming in a beach and I still have a long way to go in learning more aspects about swimming. But I am certain that I am getting closer to overcoming my fear of being in the water.